Authentic Christianity in Charleston

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When I first blogged about the horrific shooting at Charleston’s historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, authorities were still piecing together what had happened. What we’ve learned since then makes the tragedy all the more awful.

The pastor and eight congregants killed on last Wednesday night were targeted because the suspected shooter, 21-year-old Dylan Roof, wanted to start a race war.

By all accounts, this young man was filled with hate. Friends say he talked of the “need for whites and blacks to be segregated,” and that “he wanted to hurt lots of people.” An online manifesto that authorities say appears to be written by Roof is laced with racism, including statements that blacks are inferior to whites.

We Ache for the Church and Faith Community of Charleston

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We grieve with our brothers and sisters in South Carolina today as they mourn the deaths of nine people – including their beloved pastor, the Rev. Clementa Pinckney – at the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church.

Authorities believe the shooting was racially motivated. The suspect, now in custody, is a 21-year-old white male, Dylann Roof. Inexplicably, he was said to have sat in on the worship service for almost an hour prior to opening fire on those in attendance.

Moving Video Shows the God behind “The Drop Box”

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In a powerful review of “The Drop Box,” Focus’ newest movie, World Magazine wrote it “shows that Lee—once a dirty-tempered, skirt-chasing drunk—would never have saved a single baby’s life if not for a love that flows from a higher source.”

Indeed, the purpose of the film isn’t to elevate a man. It’s to elevate the God that man serves – the One who empowers people like Pastor Lee to love for others beyond their natural abilities.

If Your Child Was Killed by ISIS, Could You Pray For the Murderer?

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In recent days, our hearts have been torn and our emotions exhausted as we’ve attempted to process the horrific martyrdom of 21 Christian young men (20 Egyptian and one Ghanian) at the hands of their radical-Islamic captors.

And then, just yesterday, we learned that ISIS had kidnapped dozens of Assyrian Christians, including many women and children, in northeast Syria.

Last week, I shared  behind-the-scenes insights from the director of Focus on the Family’s Middle East outreach, Sami Yacoub, that lent meaningful background to the news reports we were hearing.

May the 21 Martyrs Cause Us to Remember, Unite and Pray

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Thousands of churches will be remembering the 21 Christian Egyptian martyrs who were recently killed by Islamic terrorists this Sunday, Feb. 22 through a moment of silence followed by a time of prayer.

This time of remembrance is part of a movement sponsored by various Christian groups, including Focus on the Family, through the 21martyrs.com.  Church leaders can find a short but powerful video at the website that reflects on the persecution Christians around the world are facing – and the Bible’s promises to the persecuted.

What the Media Isn’t Reporting on ISIS’ Beheading of 21 Christian Men

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The tragic images are almost impossible to see and process.

There on the shore of Libya stand 21 young Christian Egyptian men, each clad in an orange jumpsuit. Behind each man is a hooded radical Islamist, holding a knife.

We know what’s coming next.

If American Christians were ever tempted to believe martyrs are only people we read about in the Bible and history books, the 21 men who were brutally beheaded because they called Jesus Christ their Savior remind us nothing could be further from the truth.

Praise Pours in for “The Drop Box”

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The list of faith leaders endorsing “The Drop Box,” Focus on the Family’s second movie, is long and diverse.

Those who are enthusiastically throwing their support behind the film include both evangelical and Catholic. They’re known for advocating on behalf of the pre-born. They are proponents of adoption, special needs, and social justice.

It’s rare for a documentary to receive endorsements from such a wide array of sectors.

To us, it’s a confirmation that God’s in this movie.

This Pastor Chose Against Acting on His Same-Sex Attractions

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Allan Edwards is a pastor with the Presbyterian Church in America. He’s also married to Leeanne Edwards and the couple is expecting their first child in July.

Allan has also admitted to struggling with same-sex attraction.

In fact, he recently shared his story with National Public Radio. In the midst of the conversation, Allan said the reason he’s never acted on the attraction is because he believes homosexuality is a sin.

Some have suggested that Allan is denying his true identity and that he and his wife couldn’t possibly be happy.

This Woman Survived a Church Bombing

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September 15, 1963, was a normal Sunday morning in Birmingham, Alabama.

Until 10:22 A.M.

Then everything changed.

Carolyn, a teenager at the time, was making her prescribed rounds through her church, retrieving paperwork from each of the Sunday school classes. On her way up the stairs, she smiled and said good morning to four young girls – Cynthia, Addie, Denise, and Carole – who were headed into the bathroom.

As Carolyn passed the church office, she heard a phone ringing.

Who’s the Better Christian?

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Let’s try to guess which of these two men is doing more to expand the Kingdom of God.

We’ll call the first guy Kevin. Kevin gets up every morning at 5:30 a.m. and gets ready for a long commute into his downtown office where he works in middle management in the banking industry. He works hard because he has a family to support: a wife, three kids and a dog.

Calvin is our second guy – “Pastor C,” as the kids in youth group call him.